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Francis Thomas Veal (Dev) J 29310, Ordinary Seaman

Francis was born on 8th September 1898 in Plymouth, Devon to parents Francis Charles and Elizabeth (Rogers), the eldest of their four children. He was listed along with his mother and Aunt on the 1901 census, aged two, living at Cromwell road, Plymouth.

62 Cromwell Road, Plymouth - Image courtesy of Google Maps.

On the following census of 1911 the family had moved to Ireland due to Francis Snr working as a Coastguard Boatman within the Royal Navy and were living at 31 Magheraroarty, Gortahork in Donegal. Francis was then aged twelve and attended school. On leaving school he followed in his fathers footsteps and joined the Navy signing up for twelve years service.

Francis was recorded as being 5' tall, with light brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He was rated as a Boy 2nd Class when he joined HMS IMPREGNABLE on 28/01/1914, rising to Boy 1st Class on 7th February 1915. He remained at the training depot until 7th July 1915 before departing to serve on his one and only ship, HMS VANGUARD. He joined the dreadnought on 8th July 1915 and served aboard her during the Battle of Jutland. He rose to Ordinary Seaman on his 18th birthday, 8th September 1916. The following July he died in the explosion, still in his eighteenth year.

His pension was awarded to his mother following his death - his father received his Star, Victory and British war medals. His father Francis also served during the Great War within the Navy, surviving the conflict.

(#120 - 774/843)


England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 Free BMD

1901 England Census

1911 Ireland Census

Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 705

British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 010 (1914 - 1919)

CWGC Register

Navy Lists, 1888-1970

Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 117

Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/10; Scan Number: 0831

World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 715/08D

Images courtesy of Pamela Ashcroft

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